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BetterRider’s Tear it Up at the National Championships

The Future of American Mountain Bike Racing is getting Brighter! BetterRide coached racers were all over the Cross Country, Downhill, Super D and Mountain Cross podiums at the National Championships in Sol Vista this weekend. Congratulations to all racers who showed up and gave it their best this weekend.

Here are some highlights from BetterRiders for the weekend:

– Kelli Emmett (Giant Bicycles) added to her winning ways with National Championship Victory in the Pro women’s Super D as well a 7th in the Cross Country and a 9th place finish in the Short Track. Kelli Emmett winning the Super D wasn’t a huge surprise as she is one of the fastest women I have ever coached, but super mom Julie Olsen earning a 5th place only 2 seconds back from former National Downhill champ Elka Brutsaert?! Way to go Julie!

– Jackie Harmony (Vixen Racing/TLD/All Mountain Cyclery/Hayes) has been getting faster with each race this year and earned second place in both Pro Mountain Cross and Pro Downhill!

– Brian Buell (Team Geronimo) also earned a second place in Pro Mtn. Cross and 8th in the Downhill.

– Joey Schusler (Yeti) was just off the pro downhill podium in 6th.

– Jennifer Wolf (All Mountain Cyclery), Christin Boyer (One Ghost) and Addie Stewart  (Go-Ride) finished 6th, 7th and 8th in the pro women’s downhill.

– Rookie pro Lear Miller took 6th in the Mtn. Cross and 32nd in the pro downhill field.

– Ross Schnell (Trek) didn’t get the best start and with little room to pass on the mostly singletrack course still managed 10th place in the Pro Men’s Super D.

– Madison “Mad Dog” Bailey is now the 2010 Cat 1 15-16 National Champ winning by 3 seconds over 2nd place and Austin Benge put down a fast run to finish 5th in the same class.

Unfortunately, last years Pro MX champion, Jr. Cat 1 Downhill Champion and BetterRider Mitch Ropelato had to sit the race out with a broken collarbone but he will be back for the last few World Cups and the World Championships. Heal up fast Mitch.

Congratulations to all the following BetterRide coached racers for working hard and achieving and/or exceeding their goals at the National Championships.

BetterRide.net racer results at the 2010 US National Championships

Downhill
Junior 13-14
2nd Matthew Branney (RPM/Yeti)
3rd Galen Carter
4th Roy Benge

Cat 1 17-18
Trevor Trinkino lead the BetterRide contingent with a 5th place, Christen Wright who is coming back from knee surgery earned 7th place and Andy Proctor was 11th.

Cat 1 19-29
2nd Kyra Alexander

Cat 1 25-29 Class
2nd Jon Card
6th Dan Goddard

Cat 1 30-39
3rd Annemarie Hennes
4th Amber Price
6th Megan Zemny

Cat 1 35-39
3rd place Jeff Kegu

4X
Cat 1 Women
3rd Amber Price
4th Annemarie Hennes

Cat 2 15-18
2nd Cody Kelly

Cat 1 30-39
1st  Jeff Kegu

BetterRiders on the Podium at the Canadian National Champs Too!

Another cool email from the father of a happy camper:
“Hi Gene,
Just read your newsletter; sounds like you took the “scenic line” down the National Champs course 🙂  Bummer.

14 year old McKay in 3 Place in U 17 at the Canadian National Champs

I thought i’d add to your list of students on the podium at National Championships.  Mckay (he attended your Bootleg camp with Greg M.) finished 3rd in U17 Expert Men at the Canadian DH Nationals (as a 14 yr old).  2 weeks prior, he raced at the PRO GRT at Northstar, where he finished 3rd in Cat 2 Men 18 and Under (and re-connected with Greg Minnaar, who introduced him to Steve Peat; pretty exciting stuff for a young racer!), so he had a really good two weeks!
best of luck at your race this fall in South America, and we look forward to seeing you at a camp in the future.
Sincerely,
Chris Vezina.

What good are skills if you can’t use them under pressure?

I just received this email from a student:  “Hi Gene,
I’ve really started to feel the effects of your camp and my technique has got a hell of a lot better, when I’m racing i feel so confident and fast in practice

But then when it gets to seeding and race runs this all goes out of the window and i just end up falling off, I’m not riding outside of my limits and i know that i can ride well enough to be threatening the top spot in my category but i just seem to not be able to manage the pressure and the mental side of things.

Any tips on race mentality etc??”

This a tough thing for many racers and as I mentioned a few times in
my camp, what good are all the skills if you can’t use them when
needed?

You need to toughen up your mental game. First, remember there is
no difference between a race and a practice run, same track, same
racer, same bike, same goal.  The only difference between your race
run and a practice run is the pressure YOU but on the run. Treat your
race rub=n as another practice run (especially if you are doing timed
practice runs using a stopwatch)  then read these two blog posts:
http://betterride.net/blog/2010/are-you-tough-part-1/ and
http://betterride.net/blog/2010/are-you-tough-part-2/ and most
importantly ready, study, practice, master one of these books from
your homework assignment:

The New Toughness Training for Sports: Mental, Emotional, and Physical
Conditioning from One of the World’s Premier Sports Psychologists
by James E. Leohr, Chris Evert, Dan Jansen,

Excellent book with work sheets to help you practice what it teaches.

The Mental Edge: Maximize Your Sports Potential with the Mind/Body Connection
by Ken Baum, Richard Trubo,

Excellent book with work sheets to help you practice what it teaches.

Body Mind Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life
by Dan Millman,

Really, really great book that goes a little deeper into why you
compete in sports and helps you integrate sport and life (helps you
see and create balance in your life so the sport does not take over
your life).

Most importantly have fun!  That’s what keeps Steve Peat and Minnaar on top.

Mountain Bike Descending body position 101, video demonstration

As you may have read in my mini-course the correct descending body position involves standing and staying centered with your weight on the pedals (not getting way back), legs relaxed and bent (not squeezing your seat) and arms bent in a half push-up position.  Remember, I didn’t invent these skills I have been fortunate enough to learn from the best (World Champions Marla Streb, Greg Minnaar, etc.) and learn from the great riders that I coach (Ross Schnell, Mitch Ropelato, etc.).  I am simply passing on what I have learned.

New Video!

In these videos taken by a student in my Philly mountain bike camp a few years ago you can really see one huge reason (there are many) why centered is good and getting back is bad.

In this how to mountain bike video, it shows me riding off a curb with my weight back and arms extended. Notice how I get “pitched forward” as my arms are yanked down the curb.  Also notice how my entire body weight drops the same height as the curb, Ker plunk! Imagine if the obstacle was a little bigger and I was on steep hill! Imagine how much worse this would of been if I was  squeezing the seat with my thighs. Have you ever had the feeling of being pitched forward on a descent?  

In this video,  I am centered on my mountain bike with all my weight on my pedals and my arms bent, ready to extend my arms and legs so my entire weight doesn’t drop off the curb. I simply extend my arms and then my legs and the bulk of my weight (from my hips up) just keeps moving forward on the same plane. This is a much smoother, in control and in balance way to descend. Again, imagine if it was a steep hill and bigger drop.

Here is a shot of me staying centered on a much bigger drop in Moab in 2004.

Mushroom Rock in Moab

Gene with Weight centered!

Now go out and do the same two drills yourself and compare the results!